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Martin Bashir

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

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Iraq 20, Us 13, Syria 13, United States 8, America 6, Paul Ryan 6, Obama 5, Harry Reid 5, Israel 5, Iran 4, U.s. 4, Maria Teresa 4, Netanyahu 4, Dana 3, Ezra 3, Paul 3, Nbc 3, Dick Cheney 3, Campbell 3, Washington 3,
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  MSNBC    Martin Bashir    News/Business. Journalist Martin  
   Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.  

    March 19, 2013
    1:00 - 2:00pm PDT  

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inconsequentialty. popular caricature of conservatism in the mainstream mocks it as anti-intellectual, ain't science and uncurious. despite successes of right wing broadcasters, like glenn beck and hannity, and despite the success of populist-ish governors like scott walker and bobby jindal and despite the effectiveness of the tea party in corralling conservatism in a grassroots cause, the movement has been successfully demonized by liberals as plutocratic, corporatist, anti-other and anti-poor. i believe both are unfair characterizations. if politics is perception, then conservatism is failing on both fronts. the good news is the job of revitalizing both the movement's hitch history of intellectualism and every man tradition has two very capable applicants. the bad news is, they will need to work together. rand paul and marco rubio are
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often pitted against one another competes for influence and authority, at times they seem to encourage this and may, in fact, end up competing in 2016. but their differences now and until then should be exploited in productive ways for the party that addressed those two deficiencies. paul's ayn randian highly intellectualized conservatism is informed by libertarian and federalist principles, not a visceral populist impulse or evangelical one. >> it is wrote that there can be no liberty if you combine the executive and the legislative branches. likewise, there can be no justice if you combine the executive and the judicial branch. >> and rubio's conservatism is emotional. channeling reagan, the son of the cuban bartender, he speaks the language of hardworking middle class immigrant america. >> we don't need a new idea. there is an idea. the idea is called america. and it still works. >> the question isn't whose vision of the future should
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conservatives adopt, but how can both be promoted to successfully revitalize the movement as one of intellectual merit and emotional connection? to counter huge deficiencies among the electorate conservatism needs them both and whether they realize it or not, team paul and team rubio need each other. okay. that does it for "the cycle." martin, it's all yours. s.e., thank you. good afternoon. it's tuesday march the 19th. today marks an anniversary a lot may want to forget. and a region marked biesque lating violence. ♪ >> in just a matter of hours the president will board air force one for a trip that could be pivotal. >> president obama will leave for his first trip to israel as president. >> obviously this is a historic visit for president obama. >> now's the time for the iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps
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to reduce tensions. >> taxing more, borrowing more, and spending more is not a path to prosperity. >> republican budget is same baby with a new diaper. >> the republicans are just totally bamboozled. >> we do not have an immediate debt crisis. >> we do have an immediate problem. >> they think they got landslided and they didn't. >> more than half of our members have never dealt with the issue of immigration reform. we start today with all eyes on one of the most volatile regions of the world. as the president prepares to fly to israel just a few short hours from now. and while the president and prime minister netanyahu already have a congested agenda, ranging from the arab spring, to the
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israeli/palestinian conflict, there was yet another disturbing development today in syria when both the rebels and forces loyal to president assad accused each other of firing chemical weapons that syrian state tv has said killed at least 25 people in the north of the country. the white house sounded a skeptical note but warned against any further escalation of violence. >> on that specific allegation, we have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons. we are deeply skeptical of a regime that has lost all credibility and we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons. >> but, of course, the other pressing issue for the international community is iran and its nuclear ambitions. despite years of severe economic sanctions, and continued pressure from the united nations, iran still seems intent on developing its nuclear
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capability. in an interview specially recorded for israeli tv in preparation for his visit, the president was unequivocal in his commitment to preventing a nuclear iran. >> when i'm consulting with beebee as i have over the last few years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before. if we can resolve it diplomatically, that's a more lasting solution. but if not, i continue to keep all options on the table. >> and, of course, the president's flight to israel coincides with the tenth anniversary of the invasion of iraq. a war that was ordered by president george w. bush, a war that the current president has said should never have been authorized. but in marking the anniversary, the president issued this statement. "we honor the memory of the nearly 4,500 americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to give the iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after
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many years of hardship." for the latest, let's go to nbc's kristen welker live for us at the white house. senators lindsey graham and john mccain have just issued a statement warning that if the use of chemical weapons is verified, then the united states must take immediate action. i have to ask you, kristen, how is the white house responding to these disturbing reports out of syria? >> reporter: well, they are quite concerned about the reports out of syria, martin, and i have to tell you, there are still a lot of question marks. the white house making the point that they are looking into the allegations that chemical weapons were used in syria. as you pointed out, the government is pointing fingers at the rebel forces. the rebel forces are pointing fingers at the government. you notice the language that jay carney used today was quite different in terms of referring to the rebel forces. saying at this point in time there is no credible evidence to suggest that they used chemical
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weapons. they are taking these reports very seriously, though, and trying to determine if this was, in fact, the case. now, of course, president obama has made it clear that his red line in syria is the use or movement of chemical weapons. what specifically will he do if that has happened, the administration has not said, but i can tell you that one option they are weighing is to arm the rebel forces in syria. senators mccain and graham have said that this administration should move forward with that if it is, in fact, confirmed that chemical weapons were used. but martin, right now, the administration being very careful with its wording because there is no confirmation that chemical weapons were, in fact, used. having said that, they are quite disturbed by the increase in violence and ongoing violence. they continue to call for assad to step down. >> i assume, kristen, prime minister netanyahu is going to press the president on syria as much as he will on the issue of iran, given developments today. >> reporter: absolutely.
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syria, iran, i think that president obama when he speaks to prime minister netanyahu will go there with the intent of making it very clear that the united states is committed to preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon, to making sure that the violence in syria is contained. that will be one of his key messages i am told. of course, they will address the issue of the israeli/palestinian stalled peace process right now. the president, of course, wanted to have progress on that during his first term. he didn't, so we expect that to be a big topic of conversation as well. i can tell you that what is interesting, prime minister netanyahu has used a slightly more conciliatory tone in terms of talking about palestinians in recent days. talking about the fact that he is potentially open to compromise, so the white house is heartened by that, but they're also tamping down expectations. they don't expect any large movement. but certainly all of those topics, martin, will be on the table when president obama sits down with prime minister netanyahu. >> i believe for something like
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five hours or talks. nbc's kristen walker. thank you, kristen. joining us, mark ginsburg. and dana milbank, political columnist for the "washington post." ambassador, if i can start with you, senators lindsey graham and john mccain say if the chemical weapons reports prove true, the president's red line has been crossed. and graham tell s "foreign policy's" josh rogen, we need to come up with a plan to secure these weapon sites either in conjunction with our partners or, if nothing else, by ourselves. what's your reaction to today's developments? >> well, if these reports are corroborated, martin, clearly the situation in syria, which you know you and i have talked about for at least two years, it indicates that, and as we all know, these weapons are not under lock and key. i had revealed in a piece that, indeed, they had been put under control of the besiege and
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elements of the iranians, revolutionary guards for safekeeping. given the fact hezbollah and any number of terrorist organizations are lurking around one corner or the next of any syrian city, who knows what's going on there. there's no guarantee anyone has control over these weapons. the fact of the matter is putting boots on the ground at this point is not going to solve the problem of where these wmd stockpiles go. >> dana, this has an eerie echo of that other despotic leader, saddam hussein, who used chemical weapons against the kurds in 1996. is this the next desperate act of a man who's about to use power? >> well, let's hope not, martin. and particularly on the tenth anniversary of the iraq war, the administration is certainly being very careful not to be responding to what just may be some half-baked reports that my
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colleagues are picking up that same element of skepticism that this is something real. but obviously as the ambassador was saying, if this is something real, the administration's previous statements have left very little wiggle room and they will have to respond. so certainly the caution upfront is very justified. >> indeed. ambassador, people have spent quite a lot of time speculating about the nature of the relationship between the president and prime minister netanyahu. but this meeting, this meeting, these series of meetings, are well beyond the quality of their personal relationship. this is nothing less than critical to the future stability of the middle east, isn't it? >> absolutely, martin. look, this trip is essential to israelis of all walks of life. the united states, israel's long-term security under the control of the oval office. what happens with the president
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in iran, what happens what the president does with netanyahu, is essential already israelis of all walks of life. no matter what has been the personal differences between these two men, and it has been a dysfunctional relationship. both of them have been recently re-elected. they more or less are on the same wavelength when it comes to israel's security. and the two of them are going to do the best they can to make this trip a success for their own domestic political reasons as well. >> dana, ten years ago, as you know, we started a war on the basis of false information. today we're looking at a war in syria where the question of who is using chemical weapons, even if they are using them, can't be confirmed. is it your view, dana, that our reluctance to engage in syria is a direct result of our experience in iraq? >> well, certainly it's a response to that, martin, but also the situation in syria is a lot more ambiguous and is not exactly clear what can be done
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there. but certainly the hesitation in responding here, not necessarily hesitation, but a skepticism about whether reports are to be believed or not, is very specifically a reaction to the gullibility that was expressed a little over ten years ago that led us into that war. so that's why there is every reason to be taking this cautiously and slowly, precisely because the administration has left itself very little room but to respond if this is real. >> ambassador, final question, if i may. the president, as you know, has repeatedly said that iran is currently subject to the most severe sanctions. it's subject to obligations from the united nations, that it continues to fail to live up to. what do you think prime minister netanyahu, what more will he ask of the president than the president has already given? >> i think the president is really not going to get any further requests to toughen up
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sanctions. i think what netanyahu wants is a clearer understanding from the president over what the redline is. the big difference here is very simple and yet a very complex situation. the united states believes that until iran actually has the smoking gun, that is, a nuclear weapons that the united states intelligence community can corroborate, that's the red line. the israelis believe that as long as iran continues to enrich uranium far beyond what would be peaceful purposes, it has already crossed the red line and is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. unless the two of those gentlemen can reach an understanding, there's going to be considerable consequences for that lack of understanding over what that red line is in the days ahead. >> ambassador marc ginsberg, and dana milbank of the moe"washing post." paul ryan gets downright mad at critics of his latest masterpiece. stay with us. >> we all say it because we all
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to capitol hill now, where lawmakers are engaged in some fancy footwork to avert a government shutdown. with the house on point thursday to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through the end of the year. that as house republicans prepare to give final passage to their piece de resistance. the paul ryan budget. there's one thing they want you to know about it. >> our balanced budget plan
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balances the budget without raising taxes. >> a plan to balance the budget. this budget will, in fact, balance in ten years. >> our balanced budget -- our budget balances in ten years. their budget never balances. which budget helps those who are in need? >> i'm feeling off balance. that's a very good question. which does? joining us now from washington, msnbc policy analyst, ezra klein of the "washington post," and congressman john yarmuth, democrat of kentucky. good afternoon, gentlemen. ezra, if i might start with the majority leader's question, because republicans claim that bringing the budget into balance in ten years will be a boone to the wealthy, the needy, and everyone in between. is that right? >> slices, it dices, it cleans up the kitchen. the way they get to balance, i mean, we get into a bad spot in the budget debate when we let the entire question become have you balanced the budget or not? the way they balanthey cut tril
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trillions and dollars. they cut all of the health care subsidies in the obama care, 30 million people not getting insurance, cut another $750 billion-ish from medicaid, cut a variety of smalling programs in addition. they cut a number of low-income supports. there is a -- you can make an argument about the importance of getting a budget to balance, although i don't think it is particularly important and certainly not within the next ten years. you cannot argue this is good for the poor. all of the cuts come from programs that help the poor. >> also, ezra, it raises tax, doesn't it? in order for it to budget, if they're going to deliver two tax codes at 25% and 10%, then some people earning below, say, $200,000, are going to end up paying a lot more tax. >> yes. this is a big secret in the budget. so this tax reform plan that would bring, he hopes, all the
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tax codes down to two brackets. 10% and 20%. or 10% and 15%. in order to do that -- >> sorry, 10% and 25%. >> 10% and 25%. i'm sorry. i got a little turned around there. >> that's all right. keep doing. >> in order to get that done, you have to make a massive tax shift from upper income americans to lower income americans. it's interest if you read the legislative text of the budget. in that text, ryan instructs, the house ways and means committee on how to build the tax reform. they have to bring rates down, got to make it simpler to use, bring the corporate rate to 25%. what he never says, this is a very standard instruction in tax reform, he never says and you have to retain progreerogativepe doesn't say it has to be as good for the poor and middle class as it is today. if you're going to be revenue neutral, you're going to have to raise taxes on the middle class and probably on the poor. >> congressman, ezra's too polite to say it in public, but
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that sounds to me like voodoo economics. >> certainly it is, martin. you really only have to hear from two people to know how silly this budget is. the chairman of the appropriations committee is very, very concerned about the cuts in the budget. much too severe particularly on education and children's programs. a new member who's a darling of the tea party said his growth projecti projections, paul ryan's growth projections which he uses to get the balance are much too optimist optimistic. so here you have two republicans who are very much concerned about deficit reduction who say this budget won't do it. >> okay, congressman. as you know, house democrats are also out with their budget. joining senate democrats in calling for more revenue as well as spending to create jobs. but paul ryan didn't seem too optimistic about this this morning. take a listen to what he said. >> all the democratic budgets have one theme. more taxes, higher spending, never balancing the budget. if you look at these two budgets, yeah, we're two worlds
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apart. we're literally on different planets. >> he says you're literally on different planets. do you, therefore, have any hope of a compromise? >> well, not very much with paul ryan. i do believe that as steny hoyer, the himinority whip said he thinks republicans are going to have a difficult time getting votes for this budget. as we remember, the republican presidential candidate in 2012 ran away from the ryan budget which was not nearly as severe as this one is. so he's going to have problems with his own members in the republican conference and on this vote, but, you know, paul ryan is right. we are on very different planets. i'm pretty confident we're the ones deal with earth and he's somewhere else in the solar system. >> indeed. ezra klein and congressman john yarmuth, thank you both for joining us. coming up, the soul searching and the questions remain. stay with us. >> ever see tapes of me when i first started here? >> you know, i have seen a few
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seven marines have been killed and at least seven more wounded after a military training exercise went horribly wrong. the deadly blast happened monday night at the hawthorne army depot in nevada. when a 60 millimeter mortar round unexpectedly exploded during live fire training. white house press secretary jay carney says the president was briefed on the accident and the victims and their familyies wer in the president's thoughts and prayers. the precise of the cause of the accident remains under investigation. stay with us. we'll have much more ahead. i'm a conservative investor.
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here are today's top lines. guinness for strength. >> at this hour, american and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm iraq. >> we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. >> there is no doubt that saddam hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. >> the demonization of president obama took a very literal turn. obama satan was trending on twitter. some people need to get off the internet and brush up on the good book. >> accomplished women who have overcome discrimination, shattered glass ceilings. >> kentucky senator, rand paul. does that mean you're running? are you eligible to run for president? you were born in canada. >> i'll leave those questions to others to worry about. >> i hear birther cries building on the left. >> are you thinking about it? >> i would certainly have to give it consideration. >> it gives us an excuse to stretch out st. patrick's day. >> 11:00 in the morning. pure debauchery. people throwing up.
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lesbians kissing each other. >> stuffy old men. >> the sweater, did you borrow that from hillary clinton's pantsuit? >> we weren't inclusive. >> rience priebus came out with the autopsy what happened in the campaign of 2012 which i'm sure you remember. >> we had some biologically stupid things that were said. >> i do remember the election. >> is america still the land of opportunity? >> you called trust and verify which is your immigration plan. >> what we're trying to do is add teeth to that bipartisan plan. >> more than half our members have never dealt with the issue of immigration reform. >> poco spanglish. >> if you're not showing up in the community, the perception becomes reality. >> that's about all i can do. >> maria teresa kumar. and joy reid, managing editor of the grio.com. joy, rand paul has made pretty big waves today on immigration,
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as you heard. stop laughing. he said in a speech today, "i think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging we are not going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants." okay, so we all think pathway to citizenship. then he begins to kind of hedge his bets a bit and starts withdrawing. so what exactly is going on with regard to immigration? and rand paul? >> it's a little bit of a hot mess. it's interesting. it's the same problem jeb bush had. jeb bush used to be for comprehensive immigration reform. when he had to discuss it in public in front of other republicans, wait, wait, wait, i didn't mean citizenship. >> though he's written it in his books. >> he's said it for years and his brother was for it. it's a dilemma within the republican party. the political people and elites in the party understand they have to get right on immigration reform so they don't close the door to millions and millions of hispanic voters. their base is still very, very much against anything that would be legalization or amnesty. they have to walk a fine line, which is impossible even for
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rand paul who's a libertarian,. >> paul began his speech before the u.s. hispanic chamber of commerce trying to empathize with the crowd by talking about his great-grandparents who came to germany. here's what we had to say. >> in their home and their church, they spoke german. republicans who criticize the use of two languages i think make a great mistake. >> maria teresa, how do you think the gop response to the idea that republicans should not attack the idea of maybe two languages? >> i think, well, and i think to be clear, i think it's the most extreme right of the republican party. that's really who -- the reason why rand paul was actually -- >> hang on a second, maria teresa. during the republican primaries last year, it wasn't just extremists who said this sort of thing. >> no, it was self-deportation. if you look at a pathway to citizenship, how republicans and moderates and independents measure, they believe there should be a pathway to citizenship.
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over 60% of them do. we're seeing house republicans trying to hedge saying i have a gerrymander district when people are on the extreme of the issue and that's why he's dipping his toe in the water trying to find out if we should do a pathway to citizenship? the case for a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented, something no one is talking about is otherwise if we don't do a pathway to citizenship for 11 million, we are actually going to have two sets of citizens living in this country. we don't want a class system where we have citizens and working individuals who feed into our class system. that's not good for america, not good for our dna. we already lived that history. that's what the republicans need to talk about. what are we talking about when we set up the standard of we want two sets of americans living within our borders? >> martin, that is precisely what rand paul is saying he's for. jeb bush ultimately landed on. a pathway to, quote, normalization. what they're talking about is expanding this type of visa where you can stay in the country and not get deported but cannot get citizenship.
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so they are actually literally talking about creating a second tier of sort of quasi legalization. >> right. like republicans, paul is demanding even more border security in exchange for the deal. i guess this is an improvement for him. early in his period as a senator he wanted an underground electrified fence across the border. this is improvement. he talks about the plan involves a law that needs to be reauthorized every single year. >> correct. >> is that possible? >> it's all completely incoherent. it's based on the fact that republicans are trying -- they're trying desperately to find a way to be more appealing to a group of voters because they assume that other than immigration, hispanic voters would be for the republican party. they assume that latinos are more conservative than they really are. rand paul saying things like they're natural republicans. if we can get right on this issue, find a way to speak more softly on immigration without angering our hardline base, we'll be okay. i just don't think the premise is true.
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the economic issues also keep latino voters away from their party. >> absolutely. >> these ideas aren't necessarily helpful. >> and the issues of choice, actually, are one of the number one reasons why latinas, young women, actually overwhelmingly voted for the president. it's the tone -- they're tone deaf to the actual changing demographics of america. let's back up here. short of comprehensive immigration reform, the gop is going to have a latino vote problem the following day. short of a pathway to citizenship. why? sure, you can provide individuals basically to be legal residents but then you have a whole class of american latinos walking around where people are going to question, are you an american? based on your, you know, based on the color of your skin? short of pathway to citizenship, you're going to have a latino vote problem. >> martin, i have quickly want to say, if you want to understand how difficult this issue is for republicans, look not at rand paul but marco rubio, himself, hispanic. when he was running in 2010, in order to win among republican base, he thhad to be against th
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dream act. he came down against the dream act. >> i have to ask you then, joy, is rand paul's conversation about immigration so incoherent because it's not immigration that he cares about, it's him being elected president in 2016? >> exactly. >> that's why it's a jumbled mess because the only thing that really matters to this guy is becoming president. >> this is a libertarian trying to shoehorn himself into the republican party primary process and knows he has to take a certain number of boxes to be acceptable to the base of the republican party. he's trying not to make the same mistakes his dad did. ron paul had a huge following among younger people, more libertarian. he was anti-war. rand paul believes a lot of same things his dad does. he's trying to fix himself to fit in with hardline right wing primary voters among the primary party. >> it's not easy. maria teresa, mr. paul is not the only person who's had trouble in the immigration in the gop autopsy report, the phrase "we must embrace and
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champion comprehensive immigration reform" appears no less than three times. now, that also would seem to embrace a path. however, mr. priebus has since said, "to me, all that means is we have republicans who are talking about it right now. the details of what immigration reform is are not up for me to make." that sounds to me as though there is no policy, it's just a complete superficial veneer of nonsense on the issue. >> once again, they're trying to dress it up but not talking straight to the american people. either you are for comprehensive immigration reform and pathway to citizenship or you're not. again, basically, it you are not, what the code word that latinos are saying is you're not making it welcome for us, whether we're documented or not. and what the republican party needs to understand is they need to more than just dress it up but actually talk straight and actually have positions that latinos, that you're going to be able to woo latinos in the long term. they're talking about $10 million for minority outreach,
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african-american, young people, latinos, young women. but at the same time, they're also doing these really repressive laws at the local level that basically keeps peoples away from the polls, mostly minority voters. you're talking about 10 million. and it sounds nice, but when you're actually seeing in practice what they're doing at the local level, it's not meshing because they don't want more people participating in elections at this point. >> absolutely. the policy, at least if i read priebus' report correctly, we're going to say the words black and latino in a nicer tone of voice. >> correct. and the sooner you start doing that, the better. maria teresa, and joy reid. thank you both for speaking in lovely, nice tones. >> thank you. next, ten years and so many shattered lives later, some folks, well, they'd rather go fishing. stay with us.
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verse anniversary of the u.s. invasion of iraq. almost on cue, there were a series of ten coordinated car and suicide attacks that left more than 50 people dead today and over 200 wounded. in the decade since the invasion in 2003, iraq is neither a failed state nor a stable democracy, but the price in terms of american blood and treasure has been severe. over 4,400 service members killed. 32,000 wounded. and at a cost of $800 billion, according to the department of defense. and, of course, more than a 100,000 iraqis also lost their lives. joining us, michael o'hanlan, senior policy fellow at the brookings institution. here with me in new york, jeremy scahill, national security correspondent for "the nation" and author of "dirty wars" due to pub lilish next month. the first lady spent time today with veterans of the war. the president issued a statement honoring those who paid the
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ultimate price. has this become a war that americans would prefer to consign to distant memory? >> hi, martin. well, i think the short answer is, yes. i also very much appreciate your introduction and starting with remembering our veterans. because i think rather than this being seen as a day to commemorate either a victory or defeat, it's a day to commemorate the service of so many. because as you say, the cost has been enormous and the costs are right before us. the costs have largely already been paid. the benefits, which i hope will ultimately be substantial, are nonetheless very fragile. or provisional. a new iraqi government, which at least is not run by a hussein family member but nonetheless is hardly a stable democracy, for example, and may or may not be contributing to the peace of the broader region. whatever benefits we're going to have from the iraq war are hypothetical in terms of what saddam hussein might have done
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if he stayed in power or fragile in terms of where the new iraqi government may be headed. the costs are real and concrete. for me, it's more of a sad day than a happy day. nonetheless, i hope over time iraq will stabilize enough that we can someday have a serious debate about whether the benefits have been commensurate with the costs. >> jeremy, when that invasion occurred, i was working in britain, and the british lost 179 servicemen. with roughly 3,500 wounded. and yet, today, prime minister tony blair is reviled. he can barely walk down a street without being abused. and yet when i compare the treatment of him and his government with the way beam, leaders in this country appear to have won senior positions in think tanks and continue with their publications, there doesn't seem to be much of a reckoning for those who took this nation into a war that as mike has just said has cost such a large amount in terms of life. >> right. i mean, people like donald rumsfeld and wall wolfowitz and
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dougl douglas fife should not be able to show their faces in this country without being confronted about what they did in iraq. having spent time in iraq throughout the '90s, many of the iraqis i knew are dead. many of the iraqis that survived the war are displaced along with the millions of others that are been displaced. but i think it's important, you know, we as americans don't often study history as much as we should, to remember that i don't see this as the tenth anniversary of the iraq war. this was a war that started in 1991 and was waged consistently by the united states and it was a bipartisan war. bill clinton presided over the longest sustained bombing campaign since vietnam. bombing iraq once every three days under the guise of these so-called no-fly zones. he imposed the most brutal regime of economic sanctions in history on the iraqi people. it was disproportionately aimed at the people, not the regime. if you went into hospitals in iraq in the '90s, they were death rows for infants. that was a democratic-led administration. then we had the nondebate in the lead-up to the war. where the current vice
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president, joe biden, was chair of the senate foreign relations committee. we were begging him, i was with one of the former heads of the u.n. in iraq begging joe biden to call him as a witness to talk about the lack of wmds in iraq. they refused. so there are key members of this administration, the secretary of state, john kerry, the vice president, joe biden, who also have to answer for their role in this. people like wolfowitz, cheney, rumsfeld, should not be given any kind of honor in this society. they should be held accountable for the u.s. soldiers that were killed and i think it's many more than 100,000 iraqis that were killed. >> i'm sure. mike, former bush speechwriter david frumm has written a column in which he reveals long conversations held in 2002 with dick cheney. according to frumm, the two men talked less about promoting democracy and how iraq might become a source of oil to the united states. mike, was cheap oil really at the heart of this invasion? >> you know, i wouldn't go that
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far, martin, but i would say that fears that the persian gulf could be disrupted by saddam and oil, therefore, become much more expensive were certainly part of it. i'm not a huge fan of most of the folks from the bush administration, myself. but i do think that someone like dick cheney did not fundamentally seek to expand american influence, you know, imperialistically or go for big oil profits for his companies. i think he was genuinely worried about what someone like saddam hussein could do in power. you could say he made the wrong call and his fears were overblown. i certainly do not agree with way he talked about his concerns to american people. i think there was a hyping of the threat and willingness to associate saddam with 9/11 which was never justifiable. i think cheney was motivated by a certain fear of what saddam could do to that neighborhood as opposed to looking for profits for oil companies, per se. >> to mike's point, saddam
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previously used chemical weapons on his own people. this wasn't a man without a record of dangerous and despotic actions. >> at saddam's most brutal he was considered an ally of the united states. reagan's administration lifted him from list of state sponsors of terror then sold him weapons he in turn then used on iraqi kurds. donald rumsfeld met with saddam hussein and gave him a pair of cowboy spurs as a gift from ronald reagan. i saw them when i went to the saddam museum in baghdad. the neocons came to power with an agenda for regime change in iraq. on 9/11 they were salivating. the general of the joint chiefs at the time told me rumsfeld, wolfowitz, all these guys started iraq, iraq, iraq, at the first meeting after 9/11. the fact is these guys had a mission to try to redraw the maps of the middle east. that's a fact. and dick cheney did not invent the idea of the executive branch being a dictatorship when it
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comes to foreign policy in america. unfortunately president obama has continued some of the things cheney, rumsfeld and these guys laid the groundwork for earlier. my god, cheney headed up halliburton for the 1990s. he had oil on the mind all the time. the irony is the u.s. isn't winning the oil in iraq. these guys failed at their own game, the neocons. >> mike, as you look forward at iraq's, from iraq's current position into the future, what are your expectations for that nation? >> it's a great question, martin. you know, it's the crucial question, as we think about this day. i was just on a tv show with foreign minister zubari of iraq. he was disappointed in his own colleagues in hair inability to compromise on key issues about iraq's future. he is worried about future violence in iraq and all the violence today you mentioned in your intro. i think iraqi leaders ultimately have been chastised enough by what they've sewn in the course of their lives and the course of the last ten years that my
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hope -- i don't want to go quite so far as to say my expectation -- my hope is they will pull back from the brink and that frankly the last five years as ugly as they've been have been better than the five years before that. and i do expect gradual slow progress in iraq. i think it's going to be a long time before that is a truly stable country, but i'm going to stay hopeful because there are enough iraqis that i believe in that i think they'll find a way. >> let's hope so. michael o'hanlon and jeremy scahill. gentlemen, thank you so much. stay with us. much more ahead. [ male announcer ] it's red lobster's lobsterfest our largest selection of lobster entrees, like lobster lover's dream or new grilled lobster and lobster tacos. come in now and sea food differently. visit redlobster.com now for an exclusive $10 coupon on two lobsterfest entrees.
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it seems to me that all of us should begin as our foundational document with the constitution. the second amendment of the bill of rights provides the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. >> i'm not a sixth grader. senator, i've been on this committee for 20 years.
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i was a mayor for nine years. i walked in, i saw people shot. i've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. >> that was senator dianne feinstein and junior senator ted cruz of texas in a heated exchange on whether to restore assault weapons ban which was passed under former president clinton and then allowed to expire under former president george w. bush. the bill ultimately passed the senate judiciary committee 10-8 along party lines. but after all that outrage and bluster, we've learned that senate majority leader harry reid has decided to remove the assault weapons ban from a larger reform package. it will, instead, be voted on as an amendment. nbc's mike viqueira joins us live now. mike, what happened? why did the majority leader decide that 157 different models of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines did not deserve to be a part of a broader bill to ensure that tragedies like that in aurora, in newtown, connecticut, never
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happen again? what's happened? >> reporter: well, you know, harry reid was faced with a very fundamental question, martin. he could put on what is essentially an unpopular measure, dianne feinstein notwithstanding, and that's a renewal of the assault weapons ban. he could put it on that base bill and have it bring down the entire bill. under that circumstances, by harry reid's estimation, it has fewer, martin, fewer than 40 votes in support in the united states senate. you can't blame it all on ted cruz and his compatriots on the republican side. there are several democrats who don't favor a renewal of the assault weapons ban. you need 60 votes. harry reid told us with less than 40 votes in support, it would be filibustered, gun control wouldn't even get a debate and that's unacceptable to aefb in the wake of newtown, just three months passed. what's going to be on the floor in the base bill? this is why it's important. something that can pass with bipartisan support, there's a provision to crack down on straw purchasers and gun trafficking
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and a few other provision. that will be a starting point. the assault weapons ban, they'll try to add it in. it's not likely to be passed ar be attached. >> if senate democrats do not have the confidence to in their ability to push through a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, what hope is there that anything could pass the republican house? >> reporter: very limited hope, actually, martin. and we can talk -- we can go beyond the gun debate into the immigration debate as well. it's going to be a similar kind of dynamic. i think one things democrats are going to tell you, martin, they need for president obama to come out to be more forthright, to get behind more vocally behind the assault weapons ban. it's unlikely that's going to make a difference with a gap of almost to votes or more than 20 votes, again, according to harry reid. they're going to want president obama to step forward and try to put pressure on folks. there are a lot of democrats, frankly, from rural states, from western states, midwestern states up for re-election next year not crazy about this ban. >> nbc's mike viqueira.
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